(PICTURE: There is no picture because, well, read the blog)
One of my worst memories from my time at Syracuse University was the afternoon I strolled into my apartment after class, walked into my room and sat down at my desk to check email. I plopped down into my seat and noticed something strange, my laptop wasn't there. It took about a half a second for the math to process in my head: this is where I keep my laptop, there is where my laptop was before class, there is where my laptop should be now but isn't = I was robbed.
Turns out I was a victim of this thief who ended up robbing about thirty apartments. His technique was quite original: He would stroll up to apartments, test the door to see if it was unlocked and if it was, walked in. Had their been someone home he would say, "I'm sorry, I'm looking for Winston Churchill" and then leave. On the day I was robbed both my roommates were home. Shankles was in his room (probably watching pornography) and Alex was in the shower. The thief had even gone upstairs where they were, into Alex's room and went through his change container. Clearly I had gotten the worst of it, my computer (and hiking backpack) were gone forever.
FLASH FORWARD EIGHT YEARS:
Saturday night my house had a party to celebrate Miriam's birthday (and supposedly my arrival too). We had about thirty people show up including a few local Vietnamese girls we've befriended along the way during our first week in Ha Noi (by "we" I of course mean Song. He's the master of approaching anyone. I just try to reap the benefits after). Devin, a friend from college who is visiting for a few days (yes ANOTHER visitor already), couldn't take the humidity of the house and passed out around 10PM. Song quickly followed him to my bedroom and retired around 11PM. I stayed up for a couple more hours, whipped out my really expensive camera, and took lots of pictures/talked photography with Pallavi's visiting friend Bridgette who was also snapping away on her really expensive camera. At around 1:30 the party decided to go to a club and I decided it was time to go to bed. I brushed my teeth and tip-toed into my room. However, I wasn't tired so I whipped out my laptop and checked my email (and to see if anyone had posted a comment on ahoy hanoi). I typed away for a minute or two and then plugged my laptop into the wall to charge. I also plugged my cell phone into another outlet since I hadn't charged it in four days.
The next morning I woke up at 6AM and decided to be a good roommate and go clean up from the party (and because the people who live in this house are --what's the nicest words to use here-- basically content on living in filth and would wait days for the cleaning lady to come before picking up a piece of trash or washing one of their own dishes). While cleaning up I found a 10,000 DONG note on the ground (roughly sixty six cents or 3/4 of a bowl of pho and a coke)and thought, "my lucky day." I proceeded to walk back upstairs to grab my laptop and blog about the party and my finding money when I noticed something odd in my room: my laptop wasn't on the floor. The familiar feeling from senior year hit me as I did the math: this is where I put my laptop last night, this is where my laptop should be, my laptop isn't here: I was robbed. History was repeating itself.
The math though in this case was a little fuzzier since:
1. I had gone to sleep at 2AM and woken up at 6AM. A small window of time for a robber.
2. Three people were sleeping in my tiny room and surely one of us would have woken up had somebody entered.
However, reality struck me hard when I opened my closet and saw that my camera wasn't in there. Then reality struck me again when I looked across the room and my cell phone wasn't there either. And then reality struck me again when Steve asked me if I knew where my other camera was (the one that I had FedExed home from Australia, had my mom get fixed by Nikon since it was under warranty, FedExed to Devin in Buffalo and had him deliver to me in Ha Noi). That camera was gone too. And then reality hit me again when Steve asked, "where is your ipod?" Yup, that was gone too. That's when I told Steve, "Stop asking me if I lost stuff!"
Long really f-ing depressing story short: I WAS ROBBED BY NINJAS!
Turns out that the front gate wasn't locked when people went out to the club at 1:30AM. Sometime after I had gone to bed, people broke into our house and stole:
1. All my stuff that I listed.
2. Bridgette's expensive camera and two additional expensive lenses, everything except her credit cards from her wallet and her cell phone.
3. Miriam's computer and camera.
4. Lindsay's phone.
Do the math, I lost the most again. If you add up all the stuff that I lost it comes to roughly $2,600 dollars or in Vietnamese language, about 3,000 bowls of pho.
I took the realization of being completely f-ed over pretty well. I think my experience in 2000 taught me that life goes on and that objects are well, just objects. Also, there is SOME good news: two weeks ago I bought an external hard drive and backed-up everything on my computer so I still have all my scripts and 99% of the photos I've taken thus far.
So I was taking it pretty well until I started taking inventory of what was lost around the house and asked Bridgette if Pallavi had a computer that might have been stolen (Pallavi was basically comatose until noon. Seriously, we tried waking her and told her we had been robbed but nothing registered) and Bridgette told me, "No Pallavi doesn't have a computer. It was stolen a few months ago when the house was robbed and all the French people had their stuff stolen." "Excuse me" I said. "You know when the house was robbed a few months ago in the middle of the night and the French people had their stuff stolen." No, I definitely did not know this. Pallavi failed to share this tidbit of information with me when I was looking into the house. She also failed to share this tidbit of information with me when I moved in and said, "the lock on my door doesn't work." Turns out, well, just like I was told: The house was robbed in the middle of the night when people were sleeping just a few months ago. Clearly this house is cased out and some thief just checks the front gate every night to see if it was left open. Not cool. And yes, I'm moving ASAP. And no, I have no insurance that covers any of my stuff.
Off to Halong Bay today with Steve and Devin where I'll rely on them to take pictures for me.
Charlie wins again.